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The mbaMission Blog

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Two Boston-Based MBAs: Experience Public and Nonprofit Management at B  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Two Boston-Based MBAs: Experience Public and Nonprofit Management at BU and “Core Values” at BC
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Boston University (BU) Questrom School of Business

Since 1973, the Boston University (BU) Questrom School of Business (formerly the School of Management) has offered a Social Impact MBA (formerly the Public & Nonprofit Management MBA), specifically designed to cultivate business management skills that can make a real difference in the world. Standing at 44th among U.S. MBA programs in the The Economist’s 2018 rankings and seventh among the best MBA programs for nonprofit in the Princeton Review 2018 ranking, Questrom exposes Social Impact students to a robust general management core curriculum and also offers specialized courses and resources targeting the governmental, public, and private nonprofit sectors.

Nearby, at Boston College’s (BC’s) Carroll School of Management, students enjoy a close-knit classroom environment in which they gain exposure to broad management skills, with a particular emphasis on business ethics. Both the curriculum and the student community at the school engender a set of core values: “honesty,” “integrity,” “mutual respect,” “the relentless pursuit of excellence,” and “accountability to self and others.” In addition to, for example, taking three courses on data analytics, students at the Carroll School must complete a community service requirement, which the school believes will help instill an appreciation for and a spirit of giving back to the community in its MBAs.

Boston College’s Carroll School of Management

These values are also reflected in the school’s core “Management Practice Experience” simulation, in which students learn to think critically about the challenges involved in business leadership. As one graduate commented in a past Bloomberg Businessweek profile of the Carroll School, “In the background of your core classes, and many electives, is a strong consideration on the moral and ethical dilemmas that often arise in the business world. I never felt that ‘morality’ was being pushed on us, but the consequences of each decision we make were always placed in front of us and we were left to make up our own mind.”
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Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2019-2020  [#permalink]

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New post 08 May 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Harvard Business School Essay Analysis, 2019-2020
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At last the MBA admissions season kicks off, with Harvard Business School (HBS) releasing (or shall we say re-releasing) its application essay prompt. Once again, HBS has made no changes to its question. HBS director of admissions Chad Losee, now entering his fourth application season, must feel the prompt is effective in eliciting the kind of information the admissions committee finds valuable in evaluating potential students. Our analysis of the prompt and advice on the best way to approach it therefore also remain constant…

Be sure to join us on Wednesday, May 29 at 8 p.m. ET for a live “Writing a Standout Harvard Business School Application Essay” webinar where we will help prospective MBAs learn how to ensure their essay will grab the attention of the HBS admissions officer, including examples! Register for free today!

“As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA Program?” (no word limit)

Take special note of the word “more” in this straightforward question. With it, the admissions committee is subtly acknowledging that it already has a lot of information about you that it can and will use to get to know you better, including your resume, extracurricular activities, recommendations, short-answer question responses, academic transcripts, and GMAT/GRE score. You should therefore think first about what these portions of your application convey about who you are as an individual and candidate, so you can determine which parts of your profile still need presenting or could benefit from more detail. Now, some applicants may fret that this means they absolutely cannot touch on anything mentioned elsewhere in their application, for fear that the admissions committee will become annoyed and reject them. However, HBS is not asking only for fresh information—it is asking for more, and specifically, whatever “more” you believe the committee needs to evaluate you thoroughly and fairly. So, even though a bullet on your resume may inform the school of a certain fact, if a profoundly important story lurks behind that fact that you feel effectively expresses a key part of your personality or skill set, you should not feel hesitant to share that story. That said, we are not advocating for you to explore your resume in depth, just trying to convey that “more” here does not mean strictly “thus far unmentioned.”

Before we discuss a few approaches you might take in framing this essay, we must note that your goal in writing it is sincerity. The admissions committee is not staffed by robots, seeking to detect a certain “type” of applicant. These are human beings who are trying to get to know you and really want to end up liking you! With this essay, you essentially want to forge a meaningful connection with a complete stranger, and if you try to present yourself as something or someone you are not, you will fail.

You, like many other applicants, may worry that your sincere stories will sound clichéd. For example, if you want to write about making a difference, you may wince simply thinking those words: “making a difference.” But the power of your story does not lie in the theme you choose (if you choose to write thematically, that is) but in the manner in which you reveal your actions. If you have truly made a significant difference in the lives of others and can own that angle by offering powerful anecdotes and demonstrating a deep emotional connection to others and profound purpose in your acts, you can write on this topic. Although more than a few candidates will undoubtedly submit clichéd pieces on making a difference, if you can capture your admissions reader’s attention fully and make a strong enough impression, the cliché aspect will disappear, and he or she will be impressed by your actions and character.

So, what approach might you take to this essay? The prompt is so open-ended that we cannot possibly capture all possible options, but here are a few:

  • Thematic approach: You could write about a characteristic or attribute that has woven its way throughout your life or that you have woven into your life. Do some self-exploration and see if you can identify a thread that is common to your greatest achievements, thereby illustrating its importance in bringing you to where you are today. Simply stating that theme is not enough—you need to really guide your reader through the illustrative events in your life to show how and why this theme manifests. In the end, your values are what need to come to the fore in this essay, rather than just a series of discrete episodes. (Note that highlighting your values is necessary with any approach you take to your HBS essay.)”
  • Inflection points: Maybe the key events and aspects of your life cannot be neatly captured or categorized within a neat and tidy theme. People are complex, meaning that many are not able to identify a singular “force” that unifies their life experience. If this is you, do not worry—instead, consider discussing a few inflection points that were instrumental in shaping the individual you are today. This does not mean writing a very linear biography or regurgitating your resume in detail. The admissions committee does not need or want such a summary and is instead interested in your ability to reflect on the catalysts in and challenges to your world view and the manifestations thereof. Likewise, you do not need to offer a family history or an overarching explanation of your existence. Simply start with the first significant incident that shaped who you are as an adult, and again, ensure that your essay ultimately reveals your values.
  • Singular anecdote: Although this is rare, you may have had a single standout experience that could serve as a microcosm of who you are and what you stand for. If this experience or moment truly defines you and strikes at the essence of your being, you can discuss it and it alone. You do not need to worry that offering just one anecdote will make your essay seem “skimpy” or present you as one-dimensional, as long as the story has inherent strength and power. You will need to delve into the narrative and let the story tell itself; if you are choosing to write a singular anecdote, the story should be sufficiently compelling on its own, without a lot of explanation.
You may have read through these three options and thought, “What about a fourth option, in which I discuss my goals and why HBS? Certainly they want to know about that!” The HBS admissions committee is a straight-shooting group—if the school wanted candidates to write about their goals and why HBS, or wanted them not to, the prompt would come right out and say so. The reality is that most people should not use this essay to discuss their career ambitions and interest in HBS, because doing so will not reveal that much “more” about them. For example, if you are a consultant who plans to return to consulting after graduation, we cannot imagine a scenario in which addressing your goals and why an HBS MBA is critical would constitute an effective use of this essay. However, if you are a medic at a bush hospital in Uganda and are applying to HBS with the goal of commercializing low-cost technologies to fight infectious diseases, this may well be a fitting topic for your essay, as you seek to connect the dots between your unusual (in a positive sense) career path and your aspirations. In short, for most candidates, we would suggest eschewing a “Why MBA? Why HBS?” approach, but in a few rare cases, it may be appropriate and compelling.

Finally, let us talk about word limits! HBS has not stipulated any particular parameters, but keep in mind that with each word, you are making a claim on someone else’s time—so you better make sure that what you have written is worth that additional time and effort. We expect that most of our clients will use approximately 1,250 words, with some using as few as 750 and a small minority using as many as 1,500. We have difficulty imagining a scenario in which an applicant would truly need more than 1,500, but we certainly know of candidates who were accepted with essays that exceeded that high target. In short, take the space you need to tell your story properly and showcase your personality and experience, and then work to reduce your essay to its lowest possible word count, without sacrificing any impact or effectiveness.

Have the Last Word: The Post-Interview Reflection (conditional on being interviewed)

From the admissions committee: “Following the interview, candidates are required to submit a written reflection using our online application system. This must be submitted within 24 hours following the completion of the interview. Detailed instructions will be provided to those applicants who are invited to the interview process.”

Note: While the Post-Interview Reflection is yet to be officially announced for the 2019-2020 season, we anticipate that it will indeed be a part of the HBS application process. If this changes, we will amend our essay analysis – please stay tuned.

For the past five years, HBS has asked candidates who are granted an interview to complete one more written task. Within 24 hours of interviewing, you must submit some final words of reflection, addressing the question “How well did we get to know you?” As with the application essay, this post-interview reflection is open-ended; you can structure it however you wish and write about whatever you want to tell the committee. HBS urges interviewed applicants not to approach this reflection as a formal essay but instead “as an email you might write to a colleague or supervisor after a meeting.”

Some candidates may find this additional submission intimidating, but we encourage you to view it as an opportunity to reveal new aspects of your profile to the admissions committee. Because your HBS interviewer will have read your entire application before your meeting, you will likely discuss information from your resume, essays, recommendations, etc., during your interview. This post-interview reflection, then, could provide an opening for you to integrate new and different elements of your profile, thereby adding depth to your candidacy. For example, if you could not find a way to include the story of a key life experience of yours into your essays, but your interviewer touches on a similar story or something connected with this experience in your meeting, you would now have license to share that anecdote.

As soon as your interview is over, jot down all the topics covered and stories you discussed. If you interview on campus, note also any observations about your time there. For example, sitting in on a class might have reminded you of a compelling past experience, or participating in the case method may have provided insight into an approach you could use in some way in the future. Maybe the people you met or a building you saw made a meaningful impression on you. Whatever these elements are, tie them to aspects of your background and profile while adding some new thoughts and information about yourself. This last part is key—simply describing your visit will not teach the admissions committee anything about you, and a flat statement like “I loved the case method” will not make you stand out. Similarly, offering a summary of everything the admissions committee already knows about you will not advance your candidacy and would constitute a lost opportunity to keep the committee learning about who you are.

HBS offers some additional advice on the post-interview reflection that we strongly urge you to take seriously and follow:

  • We will be much more generous in our reaction to typos and grammatical errors than we will be with pre-packaged responses. Emails that give any indication that they were produced BEFORE you had the interview will raise a flag for us.
  • We do not expect you to solicit or receive any outside assistance with this exercise.
As for how long this essay should be, HBS again does not offer a word limit. We have seen successful submissions ranging from 400 words to more than 1,000. We recommend aiming for approximately 500, but adjust as appropriate to thoroughly tell the admissions committee what you feel is important, while striving to be succinct.

For a thorough exploration of HBS’s academic offerings, defining characteristics, crucial statistics, social life, community/environment, and other key facets of the program, please download your free copy of the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Harvard Business School.

The Next Step—Mastering Your HBS Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. Download your complimentary copy of the Harvard Business School Interview Primer today, and be sure to also check out our tailored HBS Mock Interview and Post-Interview Reflection Support and our new [b]HBS Intensive Interview Simulation with veteran interviewer Devi Vallbhaneni.[/b]
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Studying for and Struggling with the GMAT: The Most Common Issues  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Studying for and Struggling with the GMAT: The Most Common Issues
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

Have you been studying for the GMAT for a while now but find yourself struggling to lift your score? Perhaps you have some problems of which you are unaware, or you are studying in an inefficient or ineffective way.

This article includes links to a number of additional articles. If you see something that applies to your situation, follow the link!

First, read this short article: In It to Win It.

Time Management

Almost everyone has timing problems; many people think they do not, but they are wrong. If you have been studying for a while but your score does not seem to be changing much, then one of the culprits is probably timing. Another common sign: your practice test scores fluctuate up and down.

Next, analyze your most recent practice test to see whether you have any timing problems and, if so, what they are. Then read this time management article and start doing what it says.

Content

You may also, of course, have content problems—maybe modifiers are driving you crazy, or combinatorics.

Not all content areas have equal value. Some areas are more commonly tested than others, and those areas are obviously worth more of your time and attention. For example, modifiers are very commonly tested, but combinatorics questions are infrequent. If you are struggling with this topic, good news! Forget about it.

How do you know which areas are more or less commonly tested? This changes over time, so ask your instructor or post the question on some GMAT forums. (Not sure how best to use GMAT forums? Read this!)

The test review we discussed in the time management section will also tell you your content strengths and weaknesses. Your next task is to figure out how to study in a more effective way.

How to Study

Many people do huge quantities of problems, but we are not going to memorize all these problems. If that is what you have been doing and you are struggling or taking forever, stop now!

What we want to do instead is use the current practice problems to help us learn how to think our way through future new problems. When doing GMAT-format problems, be aware that roughly 80% of your learning comes after you have finished doing the problem. Your goal here is not to do a million questions but to do a much more modest number of questions and really analyze them to death. Here is how to review GMAT practice problems. You can find additional articles illustrating this process here, in the How to Study section.

Super-High Score Goal

What if you are going for a super-high score (730+) and find that you are stagnating? Maybe you have hit 700 but cannot get past that mark. First, do you really need such a high score? Not many schools will reject a 700-scorer for that reason.

If you are determined to push into the stratosphere, learn the differences between a 700-scorer and a 760-scorer. A super-high scorer has certain skills and habits, and you will need to learn how to develop them. Also, recognize that you might need outside help from a class or tutor to make this leap.

My Score Dropped!

Have you experienced a big score drop (more than 70 points) on a recent practice test or an official exam? I know you are disappointed, but you are not alone. Your task now is to figure out what went wrong, so that you can take steps to get back to the pre-drop level.

Something Else?

Finally, if you just cannot figure out what is holding you back, then you likely need the advice of an expert. You can get free advice on various forums (including the Manhattan Prep forums!). You could also take a class or work with a tutor—this will cost money, of course, but if you have really been banging your head against the wall for a long time, then you might decide the investment is worth it.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Real Options  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: I Have No Real Options
In the late 2000s, Harvard Business School (HBS) made a change to its application essay questions that surprised many. Its previously mandatory “long- and short-term goals” essay prompt changed its focus more broadly to “career vision” and became one of four topic choices from which applicants could select two. Immediately, MBA candidates tried to read between the lines and decipher HBS’s hidden agenda behind the change. As a result, many perplexed applicants called us, asking, “Every other school asks about goals, so HBS must want to know about them, too. I need to answer the essay question option about career vision, right?”

This question, in turn, compelled us to ask rhetorically: Why would HBS make a question an option if the admissions committee expected you to answer it? If it did, why would the school not simply designate the question as mandatory, as it had been previously? We believe that in this case, HBS made the question an option because the admissions committee did not feel that applicants must have a definite career vision to be admitted. Essentially, HBS was saying, “If you have a well-defined career vision that would help us better understand who you are as a candidate, tell us about it. If not, we would love to hear something else that is interesting about you.” Note that HBS no longer poses this particular essay question, but we offer it here as a way of illustrating how candidates can sometimes overthink or misinterpret the “optional” elements of a school’s application.

Essay options are just that: options. None of HBS’s essay choices—or those of any other MBA program—are necessarily “right” or “wrong.” The admissions committees are not trying to trick you, nor does a secret answer exist that will guarantee your acceptance. The programs offer multiple essay question options because they know that each applicant is different, and they want to provide an opportunity for each candidate to tell his/her unique story. So, as you approach your essays, focus on what you want to say—not what you think the admissions committee wants to hear.
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How to Use Parallel Construction in Your MBA Application Essays—and Mo  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2019, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Use Parallel Construction in Your MBA Application Essays—and More on Being Appropriately Personal
Longer and more complex sentences often require parallel construction. Simply put, parallel construction ensures that any given longer sentence has a standard rhythm or construction. With parallel construction, each pronoun corresponds with another pronoun, each verb corresponds with another verb, each adjective matches with a corresponding adjective, and so on. Parallel construction can certainly be found in shorter sentences as well, and to great effect.

Consider the example of Hamlet’s words “To be or not to be”—some of the most famous in the English language. Shakespeare wrote this short sentence in perfect parallel form; “to be” is matched perfectly with its corresponding negative “not to be” and is separated only by the necessary word “or.” Another short example of parallel construction from history is “I came, I saw, I conquered.” With these words, Julius Caesar spoke in perfect parallel construction—the grammatical form is a pronoun (the word “I”) followed by a verb in the past tense (“came,” “saw,” “conquered”).

If we were to change that second famous phrase just a touch, the amazing quality it now has would be lost, and the phrase would become unremarkable. For example, if Caesar had said, “I came, I saw, and I became the conqueror,” he would likely not be quoted today because the rhythm would have been destroyed. Keep this rule in mind for everything that you write, especially for longer sentences.

Here are a few more examples:

Bad: We are successful for three key reasons: understanding our client, trying harder than our competition, and teamwork.

Good: We are successful for three key reasons: understanding our client, trying harder than our competition, and working as a team. (In this example, gerunds [the words ending in “ing”] parallel each other, unlike in the previous, “bad” example.)

Bad: We are in the forestry business. We sell wood to hardware stores and paper to stationery stores.

Good: We are in the forestry business. We sell wood and paper.

On another note, we have previously discussed the importance of thoroughly exploring and accessing your personal stories when writing your application essays. Of course, having too much of a good thing is always a risk as well—admissions committees can be put off by candidates who go too far and become too personal.

Some stories are particularly challenging for admissions committees. For example, we strongly discourage candidates from writing about divorce as a moment of failure. If an individual were to take responsibility in an essay for a failed marriage, they would likely end up revealing intensely personal issues, rather than portraying themselves as having learned from a constructive professional or personal challenge.

Always keep in mind that in many ways, the admissions committee is meeting you for the first time via your application. So, a simple way to judge whether you are being too personal in your materials is to ask yourself, “Would I be uncomfortable if, immediately upon meeting someone, they were to share this sort of information with me?” If your answer is “yes,” you should most likely consider changing your topic.
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Professor Profiles: Robert Pindyck, MIT Sloan School of Management  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Robert Pindyck, MIT Sloan School of Management
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we profile Robert Pindyck from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Robert Pindyck, who is the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi Ltd Professor in Finance and Economics and a professor of applied economics at MIT Sloan, has won multiple teaching awards going back more than 20 years, including an MIT Sloan Outstanding Teaching Award in both 1995 and 2005, the MIT Sloan Excellence in Teaching Award in 2002, and the school’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2007. More recently, Pindyck and a fellow faculty member received the 2018 Jamieson Prize for Excellence in Teaching, described on the MIT Sloan site as “the most prestigious teaching prize offered by the School.”

Students and alumni with whom we spoke made note of Pindyck’s intense passion, which inspires his students to involve themselves ever more deeply into the material they are studying. An alumnus described Pindyck’s “tremendous authority,” which the professor balanced with “immense accessibility,” and a second-year teaching assistant in Pindyck’s “Industrial Economics [for Strategic Decisions]” course noted in a 2012 MIT Sloan Students Speak blog post that working with him was “a great learning experience.”

For more information about the MIT Sloan School of Management and 16 other top-ranked MBA schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Position Yourself for Success at Work  [#permalink]

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New post 15 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Position Yourself for Success at Work
In this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

With new full-time jobs just around the corner for many MBA graduates, we at mbaMission wanted to share our advice about how to position yourself for short- and long-term success within your new organization.

Most people assume that getting ahead means excelling at your job’s duties—it does not. According to executive coach Joel Garfinkle’s book, Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level, you must also manage the following if you want to be an effective leader:

  • How do others perceive you? Perception is about your image and is influenced by your direct actions but also by the unconscious bias of those around you.
  • How much visibility do you have within your organization? Visibility is about your ability to take initiative, stand out, and be noticed.
  • How much influence do you have within your organization? Influence is about your ability to alter and change situations regardless of your authority.
Read more about the above criteria—including why they are important, how to assess yourself, and how to improve—in Joel’s book.

In addition, you may find Donald Asher’s book, Who Gets Promoted, Who Doesn’t, and Why: 12 Things You’d Better Do If You Want to Get Ahead, insightful for understanding more about why performance is not enough to get you promoted—specifically, how hiring managers and bosses promote candidates based on their ability to provide future contributions to the organization.

After reading these books, it will be clear to you that managing your career is not the same thing as doing your job. If you want to achieve upward mobility, you must deliver on job requirements but also do the following:

  • Position yourself for constant learning. Anticipate required technical and soft skills for possible promotions and gain mastery or at least exposure to them.
  • Meet new people within your department and across other departments. Engage within the firm and build relationships with key decision makers.
  • Bring solutions, not problems, to your boss.
  • Make your intentions clear to your boss. Talk about your career path and goals, understand skill set requirements, and seek feedback on how you can improve.
  • Be a positive reflection on the firm. Represent your department professionally both internally and externally.
  • Track your accomplishments and how your contributions impacted the organization.
  • Set a career plan with specific milestones for reflection and potential redirection.
Finally, before implementing any advice on excelling at work, it is critical to understand and consider your target audience as well as the cultural norms and politics of your organization.

We wish you the best of luck in your new role! Our mbaMission Career Coaches are always eager to partner with you as you work toward moving forward and upward in your career.

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!
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How to Approach Quantitative Comparison Questions in the GMAT  [#permalink]

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New post 16 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: How to Approach Quantitative Comparison Questions in the GMAT
With regard to the GMAT, raw intellectual horsepower helps, but it is not everything. Manhattan Prep’s Stacey Koprince teaches you how to perform at your best on test day by using some common sense.

If you are taking the GRE instead of the GMAT, you will have to deal with the GRE’s “weird” question type: Quantitative Comparison (QC). What are these questions, and how do we handle them?

What is Quantitative Comparison?

The GRE and the GMAT really are not math tests, all evidence to the contrary. These tests are actually trying to test us on our “executive reasoning” skills—that is, how well we make decisions and prioritize when faced with too many things to do in too little time.

So QC questions are really about quickly analyzing some information and figuring out a relationship between two quantities. If we label the two quantities A and B, we have four possibilities:

(A) Quantity A is always bigger than Quantity B.

(B) Quantity B is always bigger than Quantity A.

(C) The two quantities are always equal.

(D) I cannot tell, or there is not an “always” relationship; maybe sometimes A is bigger and sometimes B is bigger, or sometimes A is bigger and sometimes they are equal.

We do, of course, have to do some math—and sometimes that math is quite annoying. We usually do not, however, have to do as much as we usually do on regular “problem solving” questions (the normal Quant questions).

How does Quantitative Comparison work?

First, the question is always the same: figure out the “always” relationship, if there is one (in which case the answer is A, B, or C), or figure out that there is not an “always” relationship, in which case the answer is D.

Some QC questions will provide us with “givens”—information that must be true and that we will need to use when answering the question. For example, a problem might read as follows:

x > 0

So now I know that x is positive. Is it an integer? Maybe. But it could also be a fraction or decimal, as long as that value is positive.

Next, the problem will give us two columns with their own pieces of information. For example:

Quantity A                                          Quantity B

x = 3                                                      x2-9 = 0

We do not have to do anything with Quantity A; it already tells us what x is. What about Quantity B? Solve:

(x+3)(x-3) = 0

x = -3, x = 3

It seems like the answer should be D, right? Sometimes Quantity A is bigger and sometimes they are the same. Do not forget about our “given,” though! We are only supposed to use positive values for x, so we can ignore x = -3 for Quantity B. Both quantities are always equal, so the answer is C. 

Okay, these are weird. How do I get better?

These are going to take some practice, yes. In addition, this was only a very short introduction; a ton of great strategies are out there that you can learn. Look for books, articles, classes, and other resources to help. (Here is one to get you started.)

You also, of course, have to learn a bunch of math. What we have presented here, though, should help you get started on this kind-of-bizarre question type in the first place!
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Which mbaMission Service Is Right for Me?  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Which mbaMission Service Is Right for Me?
Over the years, many MBA hopefuls have come to us with one resounding question:

Which admissions consulting service is right for me?

Maybe you are just getting started with the GMAT exam and admittedly have not even thought about your business school applications yet. Or maybe you are already well into the application process but are seeking some last-minute advice from an honest professional. Or perhaps you are a reapplicant who cannot understand what went wrong the first time around.

No matter where you are in the application process, mbaMission is here to help you. If you are unsure about which service might be the most beneficial to your candidacy, read on. In this blog post, we provide several different scenarios (one of which you might find yourself in now) and the corresponding best mbaMission service for each one.

“I need help with my MBA applications, but I don’t know where to start!”

Best for: Those who are (or plan to be) committing themselves fully to the MBA application process

The cost: Flat fee per school, starting at $4,900 for a one-school package

The commitment: Extensive—This flat-fee option gives you unlimited brainstorming assistance, ongoing feedback and advice, and as many revisions to your essays, resume, and other application elements as you feel you need to craft the most successful application possible.

Our package services work best for those who are beginning the MBA application process and have committed themselves wholeheartedly. mbaMission’s package clients benefit from having no limitations on the amount of time spent brainstorming for essay ideas, the number of essay revisions allowed, the number of rounds of changes to resumes, and so on. If you intend to devote significant time to the application process, our Complete “Start-to-Finish” Package is for you.

With the Complete “Start-to-Finish” Package, you have the option to add additional schools to your purchase at any time within your contract agreement (May 1–April 30). So, if you decide to apply to another school (perhaps in a later round), you can do so with the help of mbaMission.

“I’ve started my applications, but I need help with a few elements.” 

Best for: Business school applicants who need help with discrete tasks rather than their overall application

The cost: $350 per hour, with special “bundle” pricing available for clients purchasing five hours.

The commitment: Flexible—Use your hours however you choose, whenever you choose. Start with our minimum of two hours, and if you require more guidance, you can add hours to your purchase at any time within your contract agreement (six months from the purchase date).

Hourly services are a great option for applicants who need help with a few application elements rather than their entire application. For example, perhaps you feel your essays are strong, but you are unsure of how to assemble a compelling resume to accompany them. Or maybe you have been invited to interview and could benefit from some practice and feedback beforehand. Or perhaps just one essay is giving you trouble, so you feel you need assistance only with that portion. Whatever the task, we can serve your needs through our a la carte hourly services.

“I applied and, unfortunately, got rejected. What went wrong?” 

Best for: Reapplicants who want to improve on their failed application(s)

The cost: $650 for one application

The commitment: Low—Approximately two hours

One of our Senior Consultants will first examine all aspects of your previous application—including your test scores, resume, essays, transcript, short-answer responses, reference letters (if available), and any other related materials. Then, your consultant will provide written feedback, highlighting your strengths and weaknesses and offering recommendations for improvement in your next application. Finally, you will have a 30-minute phone call with your consultant to discuss this feedback and ensure that your questions are answered. Ding Review clients will also be eligible for a $250 discount on any Complete Start-to-Finish Package service, redeemable within three months of your completed review.

“I submitted my MBA application(s), and I just got invited to interview! What can I do to prepare?” 

Best for: Applicants who require focused interview preparation

The cost: Starting at $650

The commitment: Moderate—The Mock Interview Session and subsequent debrief will last approximately two hours.

In our individual interview preparation sessions, you will meet* with an experienced mbaMission Admissions Advisor who has read either your entire application or just your resume, depending on the approach the school with which you are interviewing prefers, and who will use actual questions posed to previous applicants by your target school’s interviewers. You will therefore be able to familiarize yourself with the content and style of a typical interview at that program and practice both forming and presenting effective responses. Through Q&A, feedback, and thorough planning, we can help you improve the content of your answers, your time-management skills, and your overall presentation.

We also offer a specialized Mock Interview Session for Harvard Business School (HBS), which includes an HBS-specific mock interview plus support for the post-interview reflection, and a new HBS Intensive Interview Simulation with veteran interviewer Devi Vallbhaneni.

And for those applicants who are interviewing at The Wharton School, we offer our Wharton Team-Based Discussion Simulation to help you prepare for this unique group interview experience.

*Mock Interview Sessions can be held over the phone/Skype or in person (subject to availability).

“I see myself applying to business school…but not yet! What can I do to prepare now so that I am ready to apply in a year or two?”

Best for: Those who are 6–24 months from applying

The cost: Starting at $1,400

The commitment: Moderate—Your consultant will schedule periodic check-ins and offer comprehensive, ongoing coaching leading up to your application season.

As you approach your business school applications, having a long-term plan in mind and benchmarks to achieve is crucial to prepare for this incredibly important step in your life. We can help you navigate this stage of the admissions process so that when the time comes to differentiate yourself, you will have a host of professional, community, and personal achievements on which to draw.

“I did not see my personal scenario in this blog post!”

We are always willing to work with you. If you find yourself in a unique situation and are not certain whether any of the services we have outlined here are quite right for you, please contact us for more information.

If you are unsure about which service would be ideal for you or how much time your business school application(s) will actually take to prepare, we encourage you to sign up for a free 30-minute consultation. During this session, we will honestly assess your candidacy and recommend what we truly feel is best for you. For a complete list of our services (and pricing), please visit our Services page.

We look forward to helping you apply to the business school of your dreams!
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Career Opportunities at the SMU Cox School of Business and the UMN Car  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Career Opportunities at the SMU Cox School of Business and the UMN Carlson School of Management
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Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business

Corporate connections are a major selling point at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Cox School of Business. Located in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, the school offers its MBA students access to a large network of corporate representatives and recruiters—from the 22 Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in the area to a global university alumni base in excess of 126,000. One highlight of the networking resources Cox provides is its Alumni Association, which has chapters in more than a dozen countries. The Economist ranked Cox’s small, collaborative program 16th for “potential to network” in 2018. In addition, Entrepreneur magazine has ranked business-friendly Dallas second among U.S. cities for entrepreneurs.

With 19 Fortune 500 companies located nearby—including UnitedHealth Group, Target, and U.S. Bancorp—the University of Minnesota (UMN) Carlson School of Management also boasts a robust network of corporate ties and high-profile recruiting opportunities. In addition, Carlson prepares its students with a pronounced hands-on approach to building leadership, management, and problem-solving skills.

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Carlson School of Management

Among the school’s more distinctive offerings, Carlson’s four Enterprise programs expose students to the areas of brand, consulting, funds, and ventures. The Enterprise learning experience is rather unique insofar as it operates as a full professional services firm, serving multiple clients and allowing students to work through real-world business challenges with senior management at major companies. In the Brand Enterprise program, for example, Carlson students have developed key marketing strategies for such brands as Cargill, Boston Scientific, Target, 3M, General Mills, and Land O’Lakes. Students in the Consulting Enterprise program have offered services to such companies as Best Buy, Northwest Airlines Cargo, Medtronic CRM Division, and Polaris. With approximately $35M in managed assets, the Carlson Funds Enterprise program ranks among the three largest student-managed funds in the world. Finally, the Carlson Ventures Enterprise program puts aspiring entrepreneurs in contact with experts, professionals, and investors.
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Open Waitlist Is a Flood  [#permalink]

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New post 19 May 2019, 08:00
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: The Open Waitlist Is a Flood
Have you heard the following admissions myth?

When a school that has placed you on its waitlist says that it wants no more information from you, this is some kind of “test,” and you should supply additional materials anyway.

As we have discussed in the past, this is patently not true. Similarly, when programs tell their waitlisted candidates they are open to important additional communication, such applicants should not interpret this to mean constant communication. The difference is significant.

As is the case with any waitlist situation, before you do anything, carefully read the waitlist letter you received from the Admissions Office. Frequently, this will include a FAQ sheet or a hyperlink to one. If the school permits candidates to submit additional information but offers no guidance with respect to quantity, this does not mean that you should start flooding the committee with novel information and materials. If you have another potential recommender who can send a letter that highlights a new aspect of your profile, you can consider having them send one in, but you should not start a lobbying campaign with countless alumni and colleagues writing on your behalf.

Similarly, you could send the school an update email monthly, every six weeks, or even every two months—the key is not frequency or volume but materiality. If you have something important to tell the admissions committee that can help shape its perspective on your candidacy (e.g., a new project, a promotion, a new grade, an improved GMAT score, a campus visit), then you should share it. If you do not have such meaningful information to share, then a contrived letter with no real content will not help you. Just because you know others are sending letters, do not feel compelled to send empty correspondences for fear that your fellow candidates might be showing more interest. They just might be identifying themselves negatively via their waitlist approach.

Take a step back and imagine that you are on the admissions committee; you have one candidate who keeps you up to date with a few thoughtful correspondences and another who bombards you with empty updates, emails, and recommendations that do not offer anything substantive. Which candidate would you choose if a place opened up in your class? When you are on the waitlist, your goal is to remain in the good graces of the admissions committee. Remember, the committee members already deem you a strong enough candidate to take a place in their class, so be patient and prudent, as challenging as that may be.
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Inside mbaMission and Manhattan Prep’s Exclusive Online Q&A with Admis  [#permalink]

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New post 20 May 2019, 07:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Inside mbaMission and Manhattan Prep’s Exclusive Online Q&A with Admissions Directors from CBS, Northwestern Kellogg, MIT Sloan, and Yale SOM!
Recently, mbaMission joined forces with Manhattan Prep to host an online Q&A session with admissions directors from Columbia Business School, the Yale School of Management, MIT Sloan, and Northwestern Kellogg. Our thanks go out to these experienced officers, who shared their takeaways from past application seasons and their expectations for the upcoming one:

  • Amanda Carlson, Assistant Dean of Admissions at Columbia Business School
  • Bruce DelMonico, Assistant Dean for Admissions at the Yale School of Management
  • Dawna Levenson, Assistant Dean of Admissions at the MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Kate Smith, Assistant Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Kellogg School of Management
Each of our panelists shared details about their respective admissions processes and the different ways applicants are evaluated across programs, in addition to these other valuable insights:

  • Smith and Levenson outlined ways that applicants with no existing MBA network can connect with students and alumni and learn about their programs.
  • DelMonico addressed the shifts in application volume across rounds, highlighting both an increase in Round 1 applications and the school’s openness to Round 3 applicants.
  • Carlson noted that applicants should not worry about competing against a pool but instead focus on revealing their strengths and fit with their target program, citing specific examples.
  • All agreed (yet again!) that the GRE and GMAT exams are viewed as equal in the evaluation process.
  • Each officer discussed the spectrum of financial aid available at their respective programs and the roles of need and merit-based scholarships.
You can watch the entire Q&A session below or on our YouTube Channel:



Stay tuned for details on other exclusive admissions events hosted by mbaMission!
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Visiting B-School Campuses Multiple Times—and a Reminder on Best Behav  [#permalink]

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New post 21 May 2019, 08:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Visiting B-School Campuses Multiple Times—and a Reminder on Best Behavior!
Many MBA applicants set their sights on more than one school. In the fortunate case that candidates do gain admission to multiple business schools, how do they choose between two (or more)? If you cannot determine a definitive “winner” based on specific academic or professional criteria, you may now need to make a campus visit or, perhaps, another campus visit. If you have not yet had a chance to visit your target school(s), we advise you to get to know the program(s) better before deciding where to invest up to two years and $100K or more. However, even if you have already visited your target campuses, this may be a good time for a second, more focused trip.

Many candidates go on marathon tours of business school campuses in the fall but have only a limited window in which to get to know each program they visit. After the admissions committees have defined your choices and shifted the decision power back to you, you can really devote some time to familiarizing yourself with your target schools and completing diligence that may not have been possible before. For example, as a nervous prospective student, you may not have truly pushed the students you met to define a program’s weaknesses, or you may not have felt that delving deeply into the recruiting situation on campus was appropriate during your initial visit. Similarly, you may not have experienced the social environment on campus, preferring to maintain a strictly professional profile. Although attending “welcome weekends” will allow you to meet and mingle with your potential future classmates, visiting campuses now—while classes are in session and the schools are operating as they will next year—will provide valuable insight that will facilitate one of the most important choices of your life.

Visiting target schools can not only help you make a positive impression on the admissions committee but also give you the opportunity to personalize your application (essays and interviews, in particular—depending on the timing of the visit) and may even help you select the school you will ultimately attend. But remember, whenever you visit a campus, you should always be on your best behavior.

Although the Admissions Office receptionist is not a “spy,” and your tour guide’s main concern is not to inform the admissions committee of your actions or comments, both of these individuals will likely feel compelled to report any bad behavior to the committee. We spoke with one former receptionist (now an admissions committee member) at a top-ranked school who said that if she encountered rudeness from a visiting candidate, she would make note of it and send a message about the incident to the admissions director—who would subsequently remove the candidate from consideration for admission. Although we imagine most candidates plan to be on their best behavior during any school visit, we nevertheless offer this important reminder.
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Professor Profiles: Cameron Anderson, Haas School of Business  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Cameron Anderson, Haas School of Business
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we profile Cameron Anderson from the Haas School of Business at the University of California (UC), Berkeley.

Cameron Anderson, who received his PhD from UC Berkeley in 2001, came to Haas from New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2005. His teaching awards include Professor of the Year at Stern in 2005 and the Earl F. Cheit Award for Excellence in Teaching at Haas in 2008. He was also named a Bakar Faculty Fellow in 2010.

A second year described Anderson’s “Power and Politics in Organizations” course to mbaMission as “easily one of the most sought-after classes at Haas.” Another second-year student we interviewed said the class “teaches students how to gain power and influence people without formal authority” and added that Anderson “teaches applicable skills based on academic research and case studies of great leaders from history. He uses assignments to force students to uncover their own tools of influence and develop strategies for acquiring power in our immediate careers after Haas. I think his class is popular because it’s academic, directly applicable, and introspective all at once.”

For more information on the defining characteristics of the MBA program at UC Berkeley Haas or one of 16 other top business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
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Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2019–2020  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2019, 14:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Columbia Business School Essay Analysis, 2019–2020
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One of the first top programs to release its essay questions for this season, Columbia Business School (CBS) is again hitting candidates with a mix of old and new prompts. Its goal statement from 2018 has been relabeled as a short-answer question but has changed in no other way, while its first essay prompt—also about applicants’ career aspirations—has likewise remained the same. The school’s second essay question has been tweaked slightly to concentrate less overtly on the value of CBS’s Manhattan location and more on the program in general, though we would argue that in the end, the new prompt is intended to elicit much of the same information as last year’s. As for the third essay, applicants may be glad to learn they do not need to discuss and reimagine a past team failure (who wants to dwell on a defeat, right?), but they will instead need to look inward and reveal their values. Read on for our more detailed analysis of the program’s 2019–2020 questions.

Short Answer Question: What is your immediate post-MBA professional goal? (Maximum 50 Characters)

CBS applicants accustomed to Twitter’s 280-character allowance may find CBS’s 50-character limit here more than a little challenging—especially considering that it includes spaces! To get a sense of how brief your opportunity really is, note that the school’s prompt is itself exactly 50 characters. With such limited space, this can hardly be considered a true essay, but you will need to approach it with the same level of thought and focus you give all your other written responses for CBS. During a Q&A mbaMission conducted with several top admissions officers, Assistant Dean of Admissions Amanda Carlson commented,

That 50 characters really helps people to just break it down very simply for themselves and simply for us . . . . Pursuing business education, it’s a huge investment in time, in money, in effort, in energy, and I think this 50-character exercise is as much for the candidate as it is for our team, and we want to know that people are serious, they’re focused, and they’re ready for this kind of adventure.

So, this prompt is a no-nonsense request for information that is all about getting to the point and telling the admissions committee what it needs to know—that you have a clear and achievable goal. In the past, the school has provided a few sample responses, including “Work in business development for a media company” and “Join a strategy consulting firm,” illustrating that conveying the requested information in such a tight space is definitely doable and that you do not need to worry too much about grammatical issues (in other words, you do not need to start your statement with “I want to” or something similar). We like to offer the statement “Reveal true goals, not what you think CBS wants” as both our own example of keeping things concise and our advice on how to approach and fulfill this request.

Think about what you truly want to do with your career in the short term and state this aspiration directly. Keep in mind that the rest of your application will need to provide evidence that your stated goal aligns with your existing skills and profound interests, especially once they have been augmented by an MBA education. This will show that your professed goal is achievable and lend credibility to your statement. If you can do this in 50 characters (not words!), you will have done what you need to answer the school’s question quite well.

Essay #1: Through your resume and recommendations, we have a clear sense of your professional path to date. What are your career goals over the next 3-5 years and what, in your imagination, would be your long-term dream job? (500 words)

CBS starts this essay question by more or less telling you not to recap your career to date, so we strongly recommend that you do so (and briefly, at that) only if context is absolutely needed for your stated goals to be understood and/or believable—perhaps if you are making a fairly remarkable career change. Pay particular attention to the phrases “dream job” and “in your imagination” with respect to the long-term portion of the question. The school is prompting you to be creative and perhaps even to challenge or push yourself to think big. CBS wants individuals who do not just follow prescribed paths according to someone else’s blueprint but who are aspirational and more inclined to forge their own way. This is not to suggest that if you have a more traditional plan in mind that you are in trouble or at risk of losing the admissions committee’s attention, but you may need to take a little extra time to consider your ambitions from the perspective of “what if?” and delve more deeply into what you hope to achieve to find the more personal and inspiring elements of your goals. Showing creativity and individualism here can only be helpful.

Although this is not a request for a textbook personal statement essay, your response will certainly involve some elements of the topics covered in such a submission, such as short- and long-term goals. The mbaMission Personal Statement Guide offers advice on brainstorming and crafting such essays along with multiple illustrative examples and so may be helpful in preparing your CBS response to this prompt. You can download your free copy here.

CBS does not explicitly ask how it will factor into the achievement of your professional goals, but if you feel that particular resources the school offers could or will be uniquely influential and advantageous to you as you advance along your path, we believe you have sufficient room and leeway to mention these. However, generic claims or empty pandering have no place at all in this rather compact essay. Any CBS resources you reference must be specific to your needs, and the cause-and-effect relationship between these resources and your anticipated success must be very clear. For example, an applicant might discuss the appeal and instrumentality of CBS’s Value Investing Program and 5x5x5 Student Portfolio Fund in their aspirations to one day break into the asset management world or later launch a hedge fund. We do not recommend going so far as to dedicate an entire paragraph to discussing school resources, but you might consider thoughtfully embedding a relevant reference or two into your submission to acknowledge the program’s role in achieving your stated career intentions. Or should we say dreams?

Essay #2:  Why do you feel Columbia Business School is a good fit for you? (250 Words)

Previously, CBS’s second essay concerned the school’s New York City location and the benefits that conferred, but the admissions committee has widened the scope of the prompt to encompass everything the program offers, both on campus and elsewhere. To effectively answer this question, you will need to conduct some significant research on CBS, from its resources and community to its extracurriculars and, yes, location. You must create and present a plan of action, showing direct connections between CBS’s offerings and your interests, personality, and needs. This is not the place to simply cheerlead for the school. Be authentic about what draws you to CBS in particular, and create a narrative explaining how you will grow through the opportunities available there and benefit from the overall experience.

The “why our school?” topic is a common element of a typical personal statement, so we (again) encourage you to download a free copy of the mbaMission Personal Statement Guide, which helps applicants write this style of essay for any school. It explains ways of approaching this subject effectively and offers several sample essays as guides. Click here to access your complimentary copy.

And for a thorough exploration of CBS’s academic program, unique offerings, social life, and other key characteristics, the mbaMission Insider’s Guide to Columbia Business School is also available for free.

Essay #3: Who is a leader you admire, and why? (250 Words)

This essay prompt is the one that has changed the most since last year, and with it, the admissions committee has pivoted from what many would consider a “negative” topic (a team failure) to a much more positive one. We see multiple “asks” in this question, and addressing them all (within just 250 words!) will be key in crafting a strong essay response.

First, by asking you to identify someone you admire and explain why you find this person’s character appealing, the school is essentially asking you to communicate your values. The natural assumption is that the person you admire possesses characteristics that you would want to (or do) emulate, which offers a valuable perspective on your personality and priorities. Second, note that the question asks about a leader you admire, not just a person. We imagine that this is in part to reveal your understanding—or perhaps interpretation—of what a leader is. Leaders are not exclusively people in senior positions or responsible for large groups. Leadership is also not indicated strictly by title. So do not feel that you must select a person who would universally and obviously be considered a “leader.” While we do not recommend that you choose someone simply because they are a “good” person you like, keep in mind that you can include individuals who “lead” others in smaller, less conspicuous ways, such as a mentor, teacher, or community organizer. The committee wants to know that you are experienced and knowledgeable enough to recognize leadership qualities when you encounter them and that you view these qualities as positive—worthy of recognition and adoption. As with all application essays, sincerity is key, so give this choice the appropriate level of consideration and select someone who truly does resonate with you.

Be careful not to dedicate too much of your essay to discussing only the person you have chosen. You will of course need to convey enough about the individual to answer the basic question, but work to really infuse your essay with you. In other words, rather than going on at length (which this essay’s word limit does not allow, anyway) about your chosen leader in detail, use this information a backdrop of sorts and make sure that what stands out most starkly are the qualities that resonate with and inspire you and why these specific qualities matter so much to you.

Optional Essay: Is there any further information that you wish to provide the Admissions Committee? If so, use this space to provide an explanation of any areas of concern in your academic record or your personal history. This does not need to be a formal essay. You may submit bullet points. (Maximum 500 Words)

This optional essay question starts out sounding like an open invitation to discuss almost anything you feel like sharing with the admissions committee, but the second line (which was not part of the prompt last season) dials things in and puts the spotlight on addressing problem areas specifically. The additional directive about bullet points seems to be a not-too-veiled implication that the school wants you to focus on imparting key information rather than offering a detailed and long-winded explanation of the issue in question. Without a doubt, this is not an opportunity to share another cool story or otherwise try to impress or pander to the admissions committee. If you do not truly need to explain an issue or potentially confusing element of your candidacy (a poor grade or overall GPA, a low GMAT score, a gap in your work experience, etc.), we do not recommend that you submit an option essay; if you do have issues to clarify, keep things concise. In our mbaMission Optional Essays Guide, we offer detailed advice on when and how to take advantage of the optional essay, with multiple examples, to help you mitigate any problem areas in your profile.

The Next Step—Mastering Your CBS Interview: Many MBA candidates find admissions interviews stressful and intimidating, but mastering this important element of the application process is definitely possible—the key is informed preparation. And, on your way to this high level of preparation, we offer our free Interview Primers to spur you along! Download your free copy of the Columbia Business School Interview Primer today.
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2019–2020 Application Deadlines Roundup  [#permalink]

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New post 24 May 2019, 11:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: 2019–2020 Application Deadlines Roundup
The 2019-2020 admissions season has officially kicked off with the release of several top business schools’ application deadlines and required essays. Among the schools to release application details this week are Chicago Booth, Columbia Business School, Duke Fuqua, Harvard Business School, Northwestern Kellogg, UPenn Wharton, and UVA Darden.

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For a complete list of 2019–2020 business school deadlines, be sure to check our Application Deadlines page. We will be updating our list as business schools release their deadlines in the coming months.

Finally, stay tuned to the mbaMission blog for our analyses of the 2019–2020 business school application essays, and be sure to download our free Insider’s Guides!
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MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Admissions Is a Science  [#permalink]

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New post 25 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: MBA Admissions Myths Destroyed: Admissions Is a Science
What does a 3.8 GPA + a 670 GMAT score + four years of work experience + three years of community service equal? It could equal a letter of admission or rejection. However, knowing with absolute certainty is impossible because admissions is not a science. If it were, the Admissions Office would just do away with the entire time- and resource-consuming admissions process and use a simple formula. Why not make life that much easier for everyone?

In some countries, simple tests are used to establish benchmarks—a candidate gets into a top MBA program with a score of X but not with Y. Some U.S.-based graduate programs have cutoffs for GRE scores or situations in which GMAT/LSAT scores and grades are definitive. Plainly put, no clear-cut criteria exist with top global MBA programs. Instead, the admissions committee reads a file holistically and seeks evidence of the applicant’s ability to contribute in class and perform at the highest levels post-graduation.

Although trying to reduce the MBA admissions process to a science can be tempting, doing so would be unwise. By listening to chatter on message boards or blogs about the “right GMAT score” or the “right amount of work experience”—rather than keeping in mind that the process is holistic in nature, meaning that the admissions committees evaluate all criteria with no particular scorecard—you are wasting valuable time and energy. Simply be your best candidate and present your full story, rather than focusing on stats.
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Set the Tone Early, and Employ Active Verbs in Your MBA Application Es  [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Set the Tone Early, and Employ Active Verbs in Your MBA Application Essays
Any good journalist will tell you that the key to writing a good news story or opinion piece is to grab the reader’s attention with the very first line. Many book authors employ this same tactic. Perhaps few of us have actually read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, but many know that the novel begins with three famous words: “Call me Ishmael.” A powerful first line can stick with readers long after they have finished reading—and sometimes even when they have not even read something firsthand. For example, we all likely recognize the statement “It was a dark and stormy night,” but few may know that it is the opening line of a book by an obscure writer (Paul Clifford by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton).

Although beginning an essay with a very short introduction is the norm, sometimes a punchy opening line can capture a reader’s attention in a useful way. Consider the differences between the following pairs of openers. Which line in each example better captures your attention?

Example 1: A “Why MBA?” essay

A: “After I graduate with my MBA, I want to work in the wine industry.”

B: “Blood runs in the veins of all humans, but wine also runs in mine.”

Example 2: A “What are you most passionate about in life?” essay

A: “I enjoy nothing more than playing ice hockey.”

B: “As soon as the nearby river freezes, I wake at 6 a.m. each day and join my teammates for a prework hockey scrimmage.”

No set formula exists for opening lines—the possibilities are endless, and each opener depends on the context of the story being told. Nonetheless, our point is that you must carefully consider your opening line, because it will set the tone for your essay and determine whether your reader will want to read more.

Now let us examine the role of active verbs in your essays. Anyone who has ever written an email that has been misunderstood—let alone an MBA application essay—is no doubt aware of the subtleties of language and the nuances that can change a message’s meaning. Indeed, you can enliven a basic sentence simply by choosing more active verbs.

For example, consider the verb “earn.” By using “earn” rather than a more passive verb in the following examples, we can alter the meaning and impact of each sentence. Suddenly, you are in control. Suddenly, you worked hard and, as a result, accomplished great things.

Passive/poor example: “I was promoted from junior to senior analyst.”

Active/good example: “I earned a promotion from junior to senior analyst.”

Passive/poor example: “After being awarded my MBA, I will be able to…”

Active/good example: “After earning my MBA, I will be able to…”

Once you have finished your application essays, review them to see how often you can replace certain words with “earn” or a similar verb—such as “achieve,” “gain,” and “attain”—that denotes action on your part.
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Professor Profiles: Rawi Abdelal, Harvard Business School  [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2019, 09:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: Professor Profiles: Rawi Abdelal, Harvard Business School
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Many MBA applicants feel that they are purchasing a brand when they choose a business school. However, the educational experience you will have is what is crucial to your future, and no one will affect your education more than your professors. Today, we profile Rawi Abdelal from Harvard Business School (HBS).

Rawi Abdelal is the Herbert F. Johnson Professor of International Management and the director of Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. In addition to teaching, he serves as a faculty associate for such groups as Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies.

His first book, National Purpose in the World Economy: Post-Soviet States in Comparative Perspective (Cornell University Press, 2001), won the 2002 Shulman Prize for outstanding monograph dealing with the international relations, foreign policy, or foreign-policy decision making of any former Soviet Union or Eastern European state. In 2016, Abdelal was granted the HBS One Harvard Faculty Fellowship, and in 2013, he received the Robert F. Greenhill Award, given to outstanding members of the HBS community who are making significant contributions to the school. Moreover, in 2004, he was awarded the Student Association’s Faculty Award for outstanding teaching in the required curriculum.

Abdelal is a student favorite, we were told by those we interviewed, because of his willingness to spend time with students outside the classroom (even those who are not in his section), explaining macroeconomic concepts that can be difficult to grasp. He is also known for incorporating unusual references from literature and popular culture into his class discussions. He has made allusions to Shakespeare, the movie Fight Club, and even rapper Jay-Z’s song “Blue Magic” to help explain complex topics.

For more information about HBS and 16 other top-ranked business schools, check out our free mbaMission Insider’s Guides.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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mbaMission Named Top MBA Admissions Consulting Firm!  [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2019, 10:01
FROM mbaMission Blog: mbaMission Named Top MBA Admissions Consulting Firm!
Whether you are a long-time member of the mbaMission community or are newer to our circle, you know that we pride ourselves on our high level of commitment to our clients. Because admissions consulting is a full-time career for our experts, our sole focus is helping our applicants succeed.

So when Poets&Quants released its article on “The Most Favorably Reviewed MBA Admission Consultants of 2019,” we were thrilled to see more of our mbaMission experts among the top 15 than any other firm (for the second year in a row!). We were even more excited when Poets&Quants named mbaMission the number one firm in its assessment of “The Top 10 MBA Admission Consulting Firms of 2019.” With nearly 400 positive reviews—an average of 16 per consultant—we have more than double that of the next top-ranked team (with just 159 reviews, or 6 per consultant).

We also recently surpassed 1,000 five-star reviews on GMAT Club, making us the highest ranked firm on that site as well!

These results are all based on verified reviews from past clients who were not only pleased with our services but so pleased that they wanted to share their enthusiasm with others—and we are extremely proud of our standing in their eyes. To be recognized as the top MBA consulting firm by two of the largest resources for business school applicants is both a great honor and a testament to the exceptional service we strive to provide all our clients.

If you would like to speak with one of our top-ranked admissions experts about your applications, sign up for a free 30-minute consultation at www.mbamission.com/consult.
ForumBlogs - GMAT Club’s latest feature blends timely Blog entries with forum discussions. Now GMAT Club Forums incorporate all relevant information from Student, Admissions blogs, Twitter, and other sources in one place. You no longer have to check and follow dozens of blogs, just subscribe to the relevant topics and forums on GMAT club or follow the posters and you will get email notifications when something new is posted. Add your blog to the list! and be featured to over 300,000 unique monthly visitors

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